I recently received Euan Semple’s newsletter, which you should subscribe to, and found this post by Philippe Borremans. In it, he discusses the need for more corporate anarchists. I was interested, because I disagreed with the idea of the post. After reading it, I still disagree, but somewhat understand more where Philippe is coming from. Specifically, this paragraph jumped out at me as being the one I resonated with most.
Immanuel Kant describes anarchy as “Law and Freedom without Force” – this idea combined with one school of thought of anarchism – where the focus is on non-hierarchical organizations – was to me a kind of ultimate long term result.
I don’t believe we need more corporate anarchists. In my work, I’m lucky enough to get to meet with many people trying to change the way their organisations work. I get to see them at the coal face and chat to them about what they’re trying to achieve. I get to help them do that. But the biggest problem is not that they don’t have enough corporate anarchists helping them. The biggest problem is that people are scared of the corporate anarchists! I guess building more corporate anarchists (sorry for continuing to use that term) could be one solution, but I think building a more resilient organisation is the better idea. And perhaps that’s the point Philippe was making.
We need organisations that are more flexible, resilient and adaptive. The people I’ve seen get closer to these results have been tremendous at working together with others to reach that point. They’ve changed the way one simple process happened, or allowed their staff to work from home, or provided them with better tools to allow them to be more mobile. It’s not been anarchy, but a slow and deliberate march towards being more adaptable. And at the same time, they built around them an organisation or team that becomes used to a slow and deliberate march towards being more adaptable. If you want to create change, don’t try too hard to become a corporate anarchist. Just get started changing one thing. Then another. Then another.